Orientation to Doctoral Study and Research – EDUC 710

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course orients students to the Ph.D. program and the skills and competencies necessary for success in coursework and the dissertation. This course socializes students to what it means to be a Ph.D. candidate and how learning throughout the program informs multiple outcomes including coursework, research, scholarship, and post-doctoral opportunities.




This course plays a foundational role in introducing Ph.D. candidates to the School of Education Doctoral Program and the nature of doctoral studies, fostering the development of a conceptual framework for approaching research and scholarship within the program and the discipline.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the candidate will be able to:

    1. Identify the distinct stages of the doctoral journey and the skills and competencies necessary for success in each stage.
    2. Locate and differentiate sources of information (primary/secondary, peer reviewed/popular press).
    3. Explain how theory informs research and practice.
    4. Identify and explain a current issue in higher education.
    5. Differentiate between qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry.
    6. Describe the importance of ethical decision-making and stewardship in the profession.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the candidate will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (5)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the candidate will discuss and interact with 5 forums based on various topics. For each forum, the candidate is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt. Each thread must be at least 500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the candidate is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250 words. (MLO: A, C, D, E, F)

Journal Exercise: Doctoral Persistence Plan

The candidate will develop a 500–750-word plan to ensure persistence through the degree. This plan must include 8–10 strategies and must conclude with a scripture verse. (MLO: A)

Article Analyses (3)

The candidate will read and critically analyze 3 assigned articles using the provided templates. The critique must follow current APA style and formatting. (MLO: B, C, E)

Current Issue Project

Annotated Bibliography and Outline

The candidate will use the Jerry Falwell Library resources presented in Module/Week 4 to research an issue in higher education and write original abstracts summarizing 10 peer-reviewed, empirical research articles. The annotated bibliography must be followed by an outline of the primary themes or concepts that appear across the 10 articles. This assignment must be in current APA format. (MLO: D)


Building off the Annotated Bibliography and Outline, the candidate will use the provided template to write a 1,000–1,200-word, current APA-formatted, research paper explaining an issue in higher education. (MLO: D)

Reflective Essay

Using Tinto’s (1975, 1993) concepts of academic integration and social integration as the organizational and conceptual framework for the discussion, the candidate will reflect on his/her growth in the course and list 3–5 goals for integrating academically and socially into the Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Liberty University. The reflection must be 500–750 words, align with current APA formatting, and include a minimum of 5 sources. (MLO: A, C)

Quizzes (4)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned module/week. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes and will contain 10 multiple-choice and/or true/false questions. Quizzes 1–2 have 30-minute time limits, and Quizzes 3–4 have 1-hour time limits. (MLO: A, B, F)